Summary of the Sermon by Pastor Corey Turner, at Bethany International Service, on Sunday, 12 August 2018
Living a Fully Devoted Life!
In Acts 2:42-47, we see the defining qualities of God’s pattern for the local church – the believers’ life revolved around God. Every believer must play his/her role in the local church. We are to take the initiative to commit ourselves to our Lord Jesus Christ.
1. We must be self-devoted, not leader-dependent!
(V42) They devoted themselves.
Many Christians are leader-dependent - tyre-pump believers/pump-me-up-pastor Christians. Many pastors get burnt out because they are always trying to energize others who have no self-devotion. Churches become unhealthy when believers see leaders as professionals and themselves as customers. God has given His Church a pattern to follow - Eph 4:11-16 “When Christ ascended.. Equip the saints.. Until we reach..”
What does God call all of us to be devoted to?
2. We must be devoted to discipleship! (Disciple - fully devoted follower of Jesus)
(V42) They devoted themselves to four things:
1. Apostles Teaching
Preaching of the Word. God’s Word is our foundation / What does God say?
Building relationship/discipleship. Jesus didn’t transfer knowledge through laws but He transferred it into relationships. We need to live a life in a community of believers.
3. Breaking of Bread
Celebrating the life of Jesus with food. Food is not just something to be consumed, everything good happens around food. Food facilitates hospitality and interaction.
Integrate prayer into every area of our life. Prayer fuels power. Prayer is like the air we breathe and the supply line of our spiritual battles.
What happened as a result of their devotion to these four pillars of Kingdom?
1. Miracles became normal
(v43) Many signs and wonders were being done through the apostles.
Is the supernatural part of my daily experience? (Devoted = signs and wonders)
Miracles are supposed to be the norm, not an exception. Jesus said that we are to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven as we go. When the secrets of the hearts of men are revealed, signs and wonders will follow. One day Pastor Turner met someone whose car had broken down. It was a black and & white Chevrolet, made in 1957. The owner tried to fix it to no avail and in the end he called a specialist mechanic to work on the old car. We take great pride in our life but when we encounter problems that we cannot fix, we have to come to Jesus to fix our problems. Signs and wonders are not an end in themselves, they should point to Jesus. We should not pursue signs and wonders; we should pursue Jesus. The byproduct of walking with Jesus is the overflow of signs and wonders.
2. Church became family
(v44) All who believed were together and shared all things in common (v46) Day by day attending...
Am I growing in my sense of belonging? (Devoted = family)
The family is God’s idea. Metaphor for church = family. Family members do not always agree on everything. We can disagree about certain things in a family but we need to stay faithful and loyal to our family. Why? Unity of faith brings blessings. 1 Cor 12:18 “God arranges the members in the body...” God has chosen us to be in this House of God to bear much fruit.
3. Generosity became radical
(V45) They were selling their possessions and distributing the proceeds to all as any had need.
Jn 3:16 “God so loved the world that he gave...
Nature of love = give and share liberally
Am I growing in generosity? (Devoted = radical generosity)
Generosity is the nature of God. If you love someone, you will be generous. If you have a problem with church talking about money, then we may have problem with love. Where our treasure is, that’s where our heart will be. The world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller; live with an open heart and generosity.
1 Cor 14:26 “When you come together...” / Prov 11:24 “The world of the generous gets larger & larger...”
4. Soul winning became easy
(V47) And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Lk 19:10 “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost.” / Parable of lost sheep = 99 found / 1 lost
Am I intentional about leading lost to Jesus Christ? (Devoted = soul winner)
Bring one more person for Jesus. Don’t become so enamoured, so focused on the found, that you forget what it is like to be lost. Pastor Turner uses the opportunity to share Jesus with his hairdresser every time he has a haircut – sow a seed of salvation into the lives of people around us. Personal soul-winning should be on the menu of our daily life, it is not something that we put on but it is something that we live for. Without the power of the Holy Spirit we will be easily intimidated to witness Christ. We cannot try to do God’s job without being fully devoted to Christ. The key to winning souls is the baptism of Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
Conclusion: When we devote ourselves to discipleship, God builds his Church!
Mat 16:18 “On this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.”
Some of us are trying to build God’s church without living fully devoted lives to Jesus Christ. God’s work cannot be done without a life devoted to Christ. Our job is to fully devote ourselves to discipleship and our Father will produce the work of the Holy Spirit. We thank God for Pentecost, for a great encounter with God. However, we need to be planted in the local church after the Pentecost. Jesus “Come follow me as a fully devoted follower of Jesus and I’ll take care of building My church.”